Bullying has made a U-turn in schools as some students have again started falling victim of the vice to the extent of losing lives.
On February 27, 2023, the pictures of Kyamate Secondary School boys’ dormitory burning flooded media which some reports have attributed to bullying.
In a message by UPDF 401 Brigade, a Senior One student identified as Bonus Ankwatireire perished in the fire that was set by a Senior Three student identified as Wilber Tumushabe that had previously been suspended from school by the school administration four days before the incident, on grounds of bullying Senior One students in which the deceased was among.
Reports further reveal that on the day of his suspension, the suspect reportedly warned that he would come back for revenge on Ankwatireire whom he suspected to have reported him to school authorities. Tumushabe sneaked back in school on February 26, taking advantage of the blackout in school and tied the deceased on bed, poured petrol on him and lit the fire then fled from the scene.
Police and UPDF are still searching for the suspect who is still at large to have him arrested for arson and murder.
Experts define bullying as an act in which a person intentionally torments someone in an emotional, physical and psychological manner.
According to a UNESCO report, bullying is one of the most pervasive forms of school violence, affecting one in three young people monthly.
The dangerous part about bullying is that victims of this act are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide as a means of escape.
The bullying prevalent is a progressive act that has different stages depending on its severity. First and foremost, bullying can start from the looks and the stares from peers where a child has to suffer through giggles and whispers everywhere they go.
The vice later upgrades to the second stage of name calling in which abusive language is included. It later advances to the third stage of physical abuse in that children may be pushed, tripped or beaten.
At some point, bullying may reach the extremes of children being used as constant slaves and punching bags for entertainment purposes.
The act of bullying is damaging to the personality of the victim in particular because the scars of bullying last for a long time and sometimes are permanent if those children are not provided with proper counselling or therapy. Some of the depths of bullying are the verbal assault that the child has to bear on a constant basis.
Parents need to be advocates of their children by empowering them to stand on their own. This will help them from being bullied.
Schools also have the responsibility of teaching children about respect for one another and addressing the issue of bullying through intervention programs.
Parents, teachers and school principals need to work together to end the vice. It shouldn’t be neglected and left to only one or two parties.
Dealing with bullying is no easy task but it has to be handled the right way particularly when your child is the victim.
It is wrong to assume that bullying happens all the time or it’s just a stage and will pass. Steps need to be taken to put a stop to it for proper upbringing of children.